Carpenter Saved from Potentially Fatal Fall

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Type:  Safety Bulletin/Alert

Publisher:  Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, Olympia, WA

Published As:  Public


Topics:  Occupational Safety and Health, Fall Protection

Following fall protection safety rules meant that one worker was able to make it home to those who were waiting for him.

A Washington State carpenter learned just how important it is to always use the right fall protection on the job. The carpenter and a coworker were removing plywood forms from around the concrete caps on top of a series of 24-foot retaining wall panels. The carpenter was using a 5-foot crowbar to pop the plywood off of the concrete. When he pulled back on the crowbar, the form did not come off. Instantly, the bar sprung back with enough energy to catapult him over the side of the wall, exposing him to a more than 25-foot vertical drop. A fall from this height would have been catastrophic, or even deadly. Thankfully, the carpenter was using a fall-protection system that was rigged to stop his fall at just 2 feet over the wall. He was even able to self-rescue by pulling himself back up onto the top of the wall.

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